Quadriplegic sailor Hilary Lister's 50-mile circuit of the Isle of Wight took some doing


Here’s another awe-inspiring sailing record that took real guts, determination and lots of minute planning. This is Hilary Lister in the process yesterday of becoming the first female quadriplegic to sail round the Isle of Wight. You only have to look at this photo to get a small idea of the difficulties she and her backers have had to overcome.

The 35-year-old former biochemist, who suffers from a degenerative condition and can only move her head and neck, sailed with a ‘sip and puff’ operated mechanism, the same principle used when she crossed the Channel in a modified Soling in 2005.

Hilary was sailing an Artemis 20, a boat specially designed for disabled sailing by Simon Rogers. She completed the 50-mile course in 11-and-a-half hours.

Incidentally, the first quadriplegic to sail round the Isle of Wight was Geoff Holt, who is currently halfway through his attempt to sail round Britain. Hilary has been planning a bid for the same record for several years and is hoping to try next year, undeterred by concerns about her deteriorating health.